We knew the Rays were going to take a step back defensively when they signed Johnny Damon to replace Gold Glover Carl Crawford in left field. Unfortunately for Rays fans, the difference became pretty clear during yesterday’s Opening Day loss to Orioles.
Damon sprinted to catch up with a ball that was hit to the left center field gap by Brian Roberts in the top of the fifth inning. He went into a slide and then tried to transfer the ball to center fielder B.J. Upton, but let’s just say that didn’t work out too well. It went for a two-run triple.
As Damon told Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times, the play was bizarrely reminiscent of the time Manny Ramirez infamously cut off Damon’s throw at Fenway Park.
“We were trying to do that triple cutoff man again,” Damon said. “Manny’s not out there, so I thought I would try it with B.J.”
Hey, at least Damon has a sense of humor about the whole thing. Have to give him credit for that.
You can watch the play here or just keep reliving it in GIF form. It has no doubt affected my productivity this morning.
Diamondbacks’ right-hander Tyler Jones is headed back to the Yankees, the teams announced on Friday. The Diamondbacks had previously selected Jones in the Rule 5 draft last December, but elected to leave the 27-year-old off of their 40-man roster heading into the 2017 season. Rule 5 draft rules stipulate that when a player is not kept on the receiving team’s roster, the player must be offered back to his original team.
Jones signed a minor league contract with the Yankees prior to the 2016 season. He pitched to an impressive 2.17 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 13.2 SO/9 over 45 2/3 innings with Double-A Trenton, but was unable to make the leap to Triple-A or beyond during his stay with the organization.
Jones’ outlook with the Diamondbacks appeared slightly more promising. GM Mike Hazen described the righty as a power arm with a “good fastball and power curveball” after selecting him in the Rule 5 draft, and early reports indicated that Jones would be in the mix for a bullpen spot. A rough spring performance — underscored by his lack of experience at the Triple-A and major league levels — undid most of that confidence, however, and the Diamondbacks weren’t willing to keep him on the active roster throughout the entire 2017 season in order to acquire his control rights.
Jones is set to open the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, per a report from the Yankees.
Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown reports that Derek Norris is signing with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Norris was released by the Nationals nine days ago, made redundant by the Nats’ signing of Matt Wieters and by everyone sliding down a notch on the depth chart below him. Norris hit only .186/.255/.328 with 14 home runs and a .528 OPS for the Padres in 2016.
Still, there always seems to be a place for a backup catcher. For Norris that place is Tampa Bay.